Bard is a specialization available to Rogue characters.
Restrictions: None. This specialization is available to new players so long as the training is explained in their backstory. It may also be earned through roleplay.
Minstrels are lovers of life, overflowing with happiness and wishing nothing but peace and joy for all those they entertain every night at the taverns. Unfortunately, bards are not minstrels, though they do a very good impression. They play all the same notes and sing all the same words as their pure-hearted counterparts, but bards much prefer the trickster traditions of perjury, blackmail, and political backstabbing to the circle of fifths. To confuse the two is to invite death firsthand, as a party without a minstrel is social suicide, yet a party with a bard is plutocratic poison.
Of course, such duplicity is no easy feat. Even if harmony and chords comes naturally, the fine social nuances of stealing from the elite and the entitled never does, especially when the game is ever shifting and every player is a cheater. With the paranoid, the prepared, and plenty of other bards about, a bardmaster is the smallest necessity for navigating danger from disaster. It only takes one small misstep to wind up in the dungeons, a place where no one cares how well you sing.
Most bards hail from Orlais, where the noble's Grand Game creates both the most opportunity and demand for skilled deceivers, yet anywhere entertainers can sell juicy secrets will give rise to this profession. So long as there are lofty nobles throwing galas and crafty spies willing to hide behind music, there will be bards.
Distraction: Be it disorienting helmet jabs, convoluted verbal discourse, or just the right lies with a fall guy, bards are proficient dealers of pandemonium. They often leave their victims feeling dazed and confused, turning aside any threat and carrying on unseen.
Encore: While the methods bards use to provoke others are often subtle, they are particularly effective. A trained bard can easily goad an opponent into repeating their last action--usually to their detriment.
Song of Valor: Music is often inspiring, even the fatigued feeling a surge of adrenaline from their favorite song. Used this way, it can help keep tempo for combat and keep any allies active until the beat has finally stopped.
Song of Courage: With a spirited retelling of previous victories and famous battles, the bard uses their entertainment for good and motivates all allies to perform at the peak of their capabilities.
Captivating Song: Like a siren, a bard in the spotlight is impossible to ignore. The most experienced are positively enchanting, their voices, melodies, and subtle gestures a feast for the senses few can disregard.
Blade Dance: Moving to a rhythm only they know, the bard can become a whirling dervish of activity, confusing enemies just long enough to get in several blows.
The Butterfly: An intricate knifework drill, one that only the most skilled of bards will ever properly replicate. The move is an advanced riposte, starting as a parry to a close-range assault, then disabling the enemy's overextended wrist, and finally slashing at the throat for a lethal counterattack.
Song of Suggestion: While it is perhaps more aptly named “Song of Coercion” in less polite circles, a master bard can manipulate the very thoughts and actions of an opponent, influencing them to do things they otherwise would not have done.
Performance is the Trojan horse for a bard's skills, whether by song, playing an instrument or telling a tale. Skill in Coercion allows them to manipulate their targets by persuasion or threat, while Stealth allows them to slip away unseen once their aim is achieved. Familiarity with Etiquette, Dancing and Heraldry allows them to blend in with the nobility on the hunt.